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SCSTC Great Lakes Opens New VOT

03 December 2021

From Matt Mogle, Combat Systems Training Command

NAVAL STATION GREAT LAKES, Ill. - Surface Combat Systems Training Command (SCSTC) Great Lakes held a ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling a new Virtual Operator Trainer (VOT) for Operations Specialist (OS) “A” School Dec. 02.

VOT is a computer-based system designed to increase the situational awareness of watchstanders on the bridge and in the combat information center (CIC), bringing together everything that the students have learned during their training. This is the final objective before graduation; an immersive, four-day, team training exercise known as Capstone.

“The VOT is much more technologically-advanced compared to what we utilized before,” said OS “A” School Course Supervisor Operations Specialist 1st Class Kyle Boyer-Hanks. “We used to place students in a stressful environment and expected them to push through and perform their jobs. Now, the VOT allows us to give the trainees a glimpse into some of the evolutions they will encounter when they get to their ships. In essence, our students are operating as watchstanders before they even make it to the fleet, increasing their overall proficiency in our rate.”

The VOT is divided into two different ships, USS Walker (DDG 138) and USS Nowell (DDG 139). The students will take these ships on various simulated deployment scenarios, and along the way, they will encounter numerous real life events they may see when they get to the fleet from sea and anchor transits, general open-ocean steaming, to interactions with non-friendlies and everything in between.

“The goal of the VOT is to send the most prepared and knowledgeable operations specialists to the fleet,” said Boyer-Hanks. “By operating together as a watchteam, our students are able to gain the experience, knowledge, and strength prior to actually stepping foot aboard their first ship.”

The trainer was funded by Director, Surface Warfare’s (OPNAV N96) program of record, Surface Training Advanced Virtual Environment-Combat Systems (STAVE-CS), which was introduced in 2015 as a means to provide better quality training resulting in more rapid qualifications of our Sailors.

“This VOT is just one of many tools being developed, funded and delivered under the STAVE umbrella,” explained Capt. Dave Stoner, commodore, SCSTC. “By replacing actual shipboard equipment with a virtual based system, we are delivering realistic and relevant course content to accession-level Sailors. Students are now able to participate in virtual simulations where they are placed in the same scenarios they will see on their ships, which will improve combat readiness by providing better-trained, better-qualified Sailors to the fight!”

The implementation of the state-of-the-art training simulator and staff instruction at SCSTC Great Lakes OS “A” School aligns to the Navy’s Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) pillar under Sailor 2025, a program created to improve and modernize personnel management and training systems. By providing the right training, at the right time, in the right way throughout a Sailor’s career, enables faster learning and better knowledge retention.

“The team at OS “A” School continuous to be at the forefront of RRL by taking this new modernized trainer and implementing everything the students have learned and trained for over the past few months into a week-long team oriented series of capstone events,” said SCSTC Great Lakes Commanding Officer Cmdr. Shaun Fischer. “The staff has worked hard in making sure that every aspect of the training meets fleet expectations and better prepares these Sailors to fulfill their real-world duties the day they first cross the brow.”


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